Tuesday Jan 25 2022
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Defying govt's request, PDM confirms long march on Pakistan Day

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Pakistan Democratic Movement Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressing a press conference in Islamabad on January 25, 2022 after an all-party session. — YouTube screengrab
Pakistan Democratic Movement Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressing a press conference in Islamabad on January 25, 2022 after an all-party session. — YouTube screengrab

  • Fazl questions under "what conspiracy" govt suggested deferring the march when it was already scheduled on March 23.
  • Says this "anti-inflation march will be the last nail in the coffin for this government.”
  • Says "govt is non-serious itself, so it is also treating the country's economy in a non-serious manner."

ISLAMABAD: Despite persistent persuasion by the government, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has decided to continue with the long march against rising inflation on March 23 (Pakistan Day).

PDM's chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, speaking to the media after concluding the all-parties session of the Opposition, said: "The PDM will enter Islamabad [on the scheduled day] and the government knew such a big march was due on that day, so under which conspiracy did they make such recommendations?"

Fazl said that all members of the PDM have decided that an anti-inflation march against the government will be held as per schedule on March 23.

He said: “People will turn to Islamabad from all corners of the country and this anti-inflation march will be the last nail in the coffin for this government.”

The JUI chief reiterated that the people of Pakistan have been overburdened because of inflation, and PDM rejects the government’s “mini-budget." 

He went on to say that since the government is non-serious itself, it is "also treating the country's economy in a non-serious manner."

He added that during the session, all Opposition parties have been directed to continue with the preparations for the long march.

Fazl reiterated that the Opposition would "never allow the government to trade the freedom and sovereignty of the country."

“The PTI leaders have made a mockery of the country's economy,” he asserted, lamenting that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been enslaved by international financial institutions.

Transparency International has shown govt their true face

Referring to Transparency International's latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI 2021), in which Pakistan's rank has fallen 16 places to 140 from 124 out of 180 countries, the PDM chief said that the current government labelled all other politicians as thieves; however, "the international institution has shown them their own reflection in the mirror."

“Transparency International has exposed the true face of the incumbent government,” he said, adding that the PTI-led government is the most “incompetent, failed and corrupt” government in the history of Pakistan.

'Presidential system is another name for dictatorship’

Fazl went on to say that the Opposition will not accept the presidential style of government under any circumstances, stressing that the Opposition has fought for the survival of the country and will continue to do so.

“Presidential system is another name for dictatorship,” the JUI chief said, adding that the end of parliamentary rule “seems to be a conspiracy”.

“We will never allow this nefarious conspiracy to be fulfilled as the country had previously suffered because of the presidential system.

“This system would not be accepted.”

He further added that the presidential style of government has a “dark history” in Pakistan.

'Imran Khan convicted in foreign funding case'

Fazl said that the government is once again making plans for rigging in order to come back into power in the next general elections.

Referring to the report released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutiny committee, he said: “PTI had hidden details of 22 accounts, and Prime Minister Imran Khan should be disqualified for hiding these details.”

“PM Imran Khan has been convicted in this foreign funding case,” Fazl said, adding that the PTI was established based on “corruption and hence, the entire party is corrupt.”

Terming the electronic voting machines (EVM) “unconstitutional”, Fazl said that PDM has already rejected it, adding that EVM is another name for Results Transmission System (RTS).

“We will not accept such elections,” Fazl maintained.

'PTI lost its moral standing'

Before beginning the session, PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had said the PTI-led government has "lost its moral standing," adding that the government allies are also hesitant to cooperate due to PTI's "anti-people policies."

The JUI chief said that the Opposition should hold serious talks with all government-allied parties and convince them of their stance against the government.

“If all allied parties support the Opposition in the House, the motion of no confidence would not be required,” he said.

Govt urges Opposition to reschedule their long march

On Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had said that the Opposition could choose to continue with their long march but he would suggest rescheduling it.

"Both Prime Minister Imran Khan and I love this country as much you (Opposition) do, but remember there is a terrorism threat on March 23," he added.

The minister said that he is not "afraid of PDM’s long march but there are terrorism threats, adding that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was also told not to stage a procession in Rawalpindi because of security reasons but she went ahead with it despite the warnings."

He said that on March 23, foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries will attend the Pakistan Day parade, therefore, "half of Islamabad will under be the control of [the government] and jammers will be installed there."

"How will the Opposition [mark its influence] under such circumstances?" the minister questioned.

Rasheed said that he would suggest "PDM show strength in Islamabad on March 17 or 27."